Refinance soon to avoid the FHFA adverse market refinance fee

FHFA fee starts on December 1, but rates will go up before that

Starting on December 1, a new “Adverse Market Refinance Fee” will be imposed on most conventional refinances.

But homeowners won’t pay the new fee at closing.

Instead, lenders will cover it by raising refinance rates — likely by as much as 0.125% to 0.25% on average.

To avoid higher rates, you’ll want to refinance before the fee takes effect.

But there’s a catch: to avoid FHFA’s fee, your refinance loan needs to be closed and delivered to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before December 1.

Homeowners who want the lowest-possible refinance rate should apply 2-3 months before December 1 — which is pretty much right now.

Find and a low refinance rate now (Feb 9th, 2021)

What is the Adverse Market Refinance Fee?

On August 12, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they would assess a new fee on all conventional refinance loans.

The fee is equal to 0.5% of the loan amount.

That means if you had a $200,000 refinance, the new fee would amount to an additional cost of $1,000.

Refinances take a long time to close and deliver, so a September 1 start date meant the fee was already being added to refinances in process.

Originally, the fee was meant to start on September first — meaning it would have applied to all loans not yet delivered to Fannie or Freddie by that date.

But because refinances take a long time to close and deliver, the fee effectively started being added to loans that were already in process prior to September 1.

However, Fannie and Freddie have since changed the rules (and delayed the start date for the fee) in response to a strong industry backlash against it.

Changes to the FHFA refinance fee

On August 25th, FHFA announced two changes to the new refinance fee.

  • The start date moved from September 1 to December 1
  • The new charge will not apply to loan amounts below $125,000, or to HomeReady and Home Possible loans

This is good news for borrowers. It means rates may stay a little lower, a little longer.

It also means that borrowers who were already in the process of refinancing might not see their rates go up as a result of the fee.

In fact, loans currently in the pipeline might have their loan costs re-adjusted in borrowers’ favor, notes Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily.

But each lender will handle its own loans differently, so make sure you talk to your mortgage company if you were in the process of refinancing.

Also, note that loans must be delivered to Fannie or Freddie before December 1 to avoid the fee.

That means the refinance will have to close much earlier (in October or early November), so time your refinance accordingly.

Find and lock a low refinance rate (Feb 9th, 2021)

The new fee could push refinance rates up by 0.125% or more

When the new fee does go into effect, borrowers won’t pay it directly.

Instead, it’s likely to be charged to borrowers in the form of higher rates.

“The fee is 50bps [0.50%] in terms of PRICE, and that equates to roughly 0.125% in terms of interest rate,” says Graham.

Though others have estimated that refinance rates could rise as much as 0.375% on average when the fee goes into effect.

Either way, that’s a significant difference in refinance rates for borrowers.

For those who planned to refinance in the near future, it makes sense to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

The earlier you start your refinance, the better your odds of closing and having the loan delivered to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before the fee once again goes into effect.

Find a low refinance rate today (Feb 9th, 2021)

Will all refinances be affected by the new fee?

The Adverse Market Refinance Fee will only apply to refinance loans sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In other words, it applies to ‘conventional’ refinance loans.

But other types of mortgages could be affected indirectly.

In fact, the initial announcement set off higher rates for both purchase and refinancing loans, including some not intended for sale to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Those who had not locked in rates suddenly faced higher interest costs.

So in the coming months, it seems safe to assume that conventional refinances won’t be the only type affected by rising rates.

No refinance fee on loans under $125,000

One piece of good news from Fannie and Freddie’s most recent announcement is that the refinance fee won’t be charged on loans under $125,000.

Note, that’s based on the loan balance — not the home’s value.

So if your home is worth significantly more than $125,000, but you’ve paid down a lot of the balance, you might end up refinancing less than $125K and the fee won’t affect you.

In addition, the fee won’t be charged to those refinancing a Freddie Mac Home Possible loan or Fannie Mae HomeReady loan.

Why was a new fee developed?

We have faced the COVID-19 economy for months. Some 55 million people have filed for unemployment, and lenders have had to adjust many of their policies to account for the added uncertainty.

But did something new happen to justify this extra fee?

According to Freddie Mac, the new fee was necessary “as a result of risk management and loss forecasting precipitated by COVID-19 related economic and market uncertainty.”

Fannie Mae explained that it was adding the fee “in light of market and economic uncertainty resulting in higher risk and costs.”

But on August 25th, a different answer emerged.

According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) — the regulator that runs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — the new money was “necessary to cover projected COVID-19 losses of at least $6 billion at the Enterprises.”

“Specifically,” says FHFA, “the actions taken by the Enterprises during the pandemic to protect renters and borrowers are conservatively projected to cost the Enterprises at least $6 billion and could be higher depending on the path of the economic recovery.”

This refers to relief packages passed during COVID-19, which allowed borrowers to skip mortgage payments without penalty and prevented lenders from foreclosing on any delinquent loans.

But this amount is a fraction of the $109.5 billion in profits Fannie and Freddie have added to government coffers, even after paying back bailout funds they received during the 2008 housing crisis, according to ProPublica.

Using a small percentage of past years’ profits to help homeowners through a worldwide pandemic seems like a good idea to us, anyway.

Will Congress stop the new fee before it goes into effect?

The Adverse Market Refinance fee is now set to start after the November election.

So, could the results of the election impact whether or not the fee actually goes into effect?

That’s not certain. Both Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, and Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Chair of the Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance, oppose the new charge.

If opposition to the fee is strong enough, there could potentially be an investigation into the fee and an attempt to stop it. But there’s no guarantee this will happen.

What to do if you want to refinance

Rates are still sitting near record lows — below 3% in many cases. This is basically unheard of in the mortgage world.

Rates are likely to go up as the new refinance fee start date nears. But that’s just one of the many, many factors that can impact mortgage and refinance rates.

If the economy starts to see a real recovery any time soon, rates could start going up regardless of what happens with the refinance fee. On the flip side, they’re not likely to go much lower than they are now.

So for borrowers hoping to refinance at record-low rates, it makes sense to get started sooner rather than later.

Verify your new rate (Feb 9th, 2021)

Source: themortgagereports.com

Don’t Freak Out About the Recent Mortgage Rate ‘Spike’

Posted on January 15th, 2021

Queue the panic. Mortgage rates have officially spiked and the media is all over it.

Yep, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage increased from 2.65% to 2.79% this week, per Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.

Freddie Mac Chief Economist Sam Khater noted in the weekly news release that mortgage rates have been under pressure as Treasury yields have risen.

But he did stress that “while mortgage rates are expected to increase modestly in 2021, they will remain inarguably low.”

So he’s not panicking, even though the Washington Post and other news outlets are leading with articles about “mortgage rates spiking.”

When it comes down to it, a 14-basis point move isn’t what I’d refer to as a “spike,” but yes, mortgage rates are higher than they were last week.

But they are still well below the 3.65% average seen at this time a year ago.

Why Have Mortgage Rates Increased Lately?

rates

  • 30-year fixed mortgage rates have fallen to and hovered close to record lows for months
  • It’s inevitable to see some upward pressure after such a long period of record-breaking movement
  • One driver could be the bond selloff, which lower prices and increases yields
  • This might relate to the Democrats winning the Senate and increasing stimulus spending

As noted, mortgage rates are no longer at record lows, and are in fact closer to 3% than 2%. So should we all freak out?

I’m going to go with no. While the media is using the word “spike” in their articles, perhaps to make its relatively boring weekly report a little more interesting, things aren’t that bad.

Remember, mortgage rates are only marginally higher, and probably not high enough to change anyone’s position on buying a home or refinancing their mortgage.

Sure, there’s a chance someone’s monthly mortgage payment now exceeds the max DTI allowed for the loan, but if you were cutting it that close, you’re probably buying too much home.

As to what’s causing the recent upward reversal, mortgage rate watcher Matthew Graham seems to think it relates to the bond sell-off as a result of the Democrats taking over the Senate.

Simply put, the government issues Treasuries to fund additional COVID-related stimulus, which while good for the economy and struggling households, increases bond supply.

The result is lower bond prices, which forces the accompanying yields (or interest rates) higher.

And because Treasuries correlate with long-term mortgage rates like the 30-year fixed, borrowers will pay more to finance their homes.

Is This the End of Low Mortgage Rates Forever?

  • Let us remember that mortgage rates started off 2021 at all-time record lows
  • So it’s not surprising for them to rise off those levels if there’s any pressure whatsoever
  • I fully expect mortgage rates to hit new lows at some point this year
  • But you’re always going to see ebbs and flows over the course of 365 days

While it’s easy to let your fears and emotions get the best of you, perhaps we shouldn’t call an end to the low-rate party just yet.

Ultimately, mortgage rates ebb and flow, similar to how stocks go up and down from day to day, or week to week.

Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the psychology of it all and panic, but I just don’t believe we’ve seen the end of the low rates.

Additionally, there may even be more record lows in store for 2021.

Remember, the first week of 2021 resulted in new all-time lows for both the 30-year fixed and 15-year fixed, so it’s kind of far-fetched to sound the alarm.

This isn’t to say we don’t experience a period of relatively higher rates, it’s just that it could be short-lived.

Remember, the presidential inauguration is next week and there are thousands of National Guard protecting the Mall in Wasington D.C and holed up in the Capitol Building.

If that gives you confidence that good times are ahead, well, I don’t know what to tell you.

Not trying to be an alarmist, but there’s just too much uncertainty in the air for interest rates to flourish.

In short, bad news tends to lower rates, while good news increases them. I don’t see much good news, even with all that proposed government spending taken into account.

A month ago, the Federal Reserve said it would be keep its short-term interest rate near zero for the foreseeable future as the economy attempts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also indicated that they’d continue to buy Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) at the current pace until “substantial progress” is seen in the economy.

Call me a pessimist, but I don’t see anything positive happening with the economy this year, or even next year.

I think we’ve all been ignoring the elephant in the room while watching the stock market reach new all-time highs. At some point, reality will hit.

Ultimately, as long as they’re continuing to buy the mortgages this month and next, lenders will continue to make them at low, low rates.

Time will tell if rates will need to rise on long-term fixed mortgages as the Fed eventually exits the marketplace.

Is It Best to Lock Now or Wait?

  • Times like this exemplify the importance of locking in your mortgage rate
  • You are typically given the choice to lock or float your interest rate once you apply for a home loan
  • If you like what you see, lock it in and don’t give it another thought
  • If mortgage rates shoot up quickly, it could be wise to float and wait for things to calm down

My guess is fixed-rate mortgages will settle down and begin making their way back to lows seen earlier this month.

Of course, mortgage lenders are always quick to raise rates, and a lot more patient when it comes to lowering them (at our expense).

You can’t blame them though – they don’t want to get caught out if volatile rates change direction and they’re on the wrong end of that.

Times like these really exemplify the importance of locking in your mortgage rate. No one cares or complains until rates increase.

If you’re happy with your quoted rate, lock it in and forget about it.

If you’ve got some time before funding, maybe float a bit and wait for some improvement.

After all, the more time you have, the more chances you’ve got for rates to move lower.

And you can always lean on your loan officer or mortgage broker if you’re not sure what to do. Most of the experienced ones keep a keen eye on rates.

In summary, you don’t need to panic, but you should be aware of the fluid situation if you’re looking to refinance or buy a home in 2021.

It might also be a good time to consider how long you plan to stay in your home as well.

That could dictate your mortgage decision and whether or not to pay mortgage points for an even lower rate.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

These Are the Top Reasons Home Buyers Haven’t Been Successful Lately

Posted on February 1st, 2021

In case you haven’t been paying attention, the housing market is en fuego. This is actually nothing new.

It’s been pretty red hot for years now, and home prices have risen consistently for about a decade since they bottomed around 2012.

But amazingly, the housing market has become even more competitive lately, despite us being in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

I already explained that the 2021 housing market is akin to the toilet paper shortage, with too many buyers and not enough sellers.

This is why 2021 home prices will be roughly 10% higher than they were toward the end of 2020.

It also tells me you need to bring your ‘A’ game (and then some) if you want to be successful in winning a bid on a property.

You Better Be Ready If You’re in the Market to Buy

pending sales

  • New for-sale listings fell 12% from a year ago, the largest decline since May
  • Active listings declined 35% from 2020 to reach a new all-time record low
  • 43% of homes had an accepted offer within the first 2 weeks, up from 35% a year ago
  • Last week that number hit 55%, the highest point since at least 2012 (when Redfin began tracking such data)

Just when you thought real estate was cooling off, it got even hotter. Don’t believe me? Check out the latest data from real estate brokerage Redfin.

The company noted that new for-sale listings fell 12% from a year ago, the largest decline since May.

Meanwhile, active listings, which are the total number of homes listed for sale at any point during a given period, slipped 35% from levels seen in 2020 to reach a record low.

This supply issue resulted in nearly half (43%) of homes receiving an accepted offer within the first 2 weeks on the market, up from 35% a year ago.

And that number hit a staggering 55% during the week ending January 24th, which shows it’s only accelerating.

Prospective Buyers Are No Longer in the Planning Phase

planning

In another report from the National Association of Home Builders (the Q4 Housing Trends Report), they found that 56% of prospective buyers have exited the planning stage and are now actively attempting to purchase a home.

That number is up from 43% in the fourth quarter of 2019, and reflects a climate filled with more serious buyers, as opposed to lookie loos.

The NAHB said this is being driven by a mixture of record low mortgage rates, COVID-19, and the fear of missing out (FOMO).

Remember, we’ve just entered February. The traditionally hot housing market doesn’t begin to reveal itself until March and April. I can only imagine what that will be like.

In other words, this situation is only going to get worse as 2021 rolls on, so you better be ready if and when you find a house you like because your competition will be…

FYI, don’t buy a house because you don’t want to miss out.

Why Prospective Home Buyers Aren’t Winning

missing out

  • The most common issue is being outbid on a property
  • Which replaced the inability to find an affordable home
  • Another common gripe is finding a home in a desirable neighborhood
  • Or locating a property that has the desired features/amenities

The NAHB report also looked at why prospective home buyers aren’t closing the deal, and after years of its being an affordability issue, it’s now a matter of being outbid.

While bidding wars aren’t new, and certainly ebb and flow over time, they appear to be gaining traction again.

As you can see from the chart above, there are four main issues that have kept active home buyers from landing a property.

They include housing affordability, features/amenities, desired neighborhood, and getting outbid.

For the first time in the NAHB’s series history, getting outbid was the number one reason a long-time searcher hasn’t made a home purchase.

It usurped the “inability to find an affordably-priced home,” which had long been the issue for most prospects.

Interestingly, home buyers are less burdened by affordability and more held back by higher bids from their competition.

Of course, you could argue they are somewhat one in the same, with a higher bid possibly reflecting a price that becomes too far out of reach.

However, it further illustrates just how strong the seller’s market has become yet again.

There were some periods over the past few years where buyers had the upper hand, but it appears those days are numbered, at least for the foreseeable future.

Prepare for War (of the Bidding Variety)

  • You have to be pre-approved for a home loan (no ifs, ands, or buts), you won’t even get into a showing
  • Expect to provide your “best and final” offer right off the bat
  • Don’t be surprised if you’re outbid, but also don’t expect home prices to get any cheaper this year
  • Consider properties that aren’t picture-perfect which could offer value and help you avoid a bidding war

If you’re a buyer, you need to get your ducks in a row, now more than ever.

At a minimum, this means being pre-approved for a mortgage, having assets set aside for down payment and closing costs, and being ready to make an offer at a moment’s notice.

Oh, and if you’re currently a homeowner, how to get rid of that property without it being contingent.

If you’re worried about affordability, it’s likely only going to get worse, whether it’s higher mortgage rates or even more expensive home prices.

Remember, they’re forecast to rise another 10% by November nationally. As far as interest rates go, the 2021 mortgage rate forecast calls for mostly higher rates, or flat at best.

With regard to the features/amenities issue, the NAHB noted that 41% of buyers in the fourth quarter of 2020 were considering a newly-built home, more than double the 19% share a year earlier.

Generally, new homes have all the latest features a home buyer could want, and/or they can be paid add-ons depending on the builder.

The tradeoff is typically a home in a subdivision that isn’t as centrally located, so you might get the home you want, but not the neighborhood.

If you must have the neighborhood, home renovation isn’t as daunting as it looks, assuming we’re just talking about new paint, flooring, appliances, curb appeal, etc.

Because the market is so competitive, it might be better to look at the homes that aren’t staged to perfection, but have potential.

These diamonds in the rough good could offer a discount, or at least help you avoid a bidding war.

Read more: 2021 Home Buying Tips to Help You Seal the Deal

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

Mortgage Rates vs. a Potential War with Iran

Well, it’s a new year and it certainly didn’t begin quietly. Might as well address the elephant in the room when it comes to your mortgage. This isn’t the first time I’ve discussed the possibility of war and its impact on mortgage rates, with the last discussion centered on the Syrian conflict back in 2013. [&hellip

The post Mortgage Rates vs. a Potential War with Iran first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

It’s Taking a Really Long Time to Get a Mortgage Right Now

Similar to the increased waiting times to get a COVID-19 test these days, it’s taking an extended amount of time to get a mortgage to the finish line. The reason is simply unprecedented demand, just like those COVID-19 tests. The more people that need one, the longer the wait, period. This is the downside to [&hellip

The post It’s Taking a Really Long Time to Get a Mortgage Right Now first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

2021 Conforming Loan Limit Rises to $548,250

Thanks to another year of stellar home price appreciation, the 2021 conforming loan limit will increase to $548,250, per the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). This is the maximum loan amount for mortgages that can be acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, known as conforming mortgages. The figure is up from $510,400 for mortgages [&hellip

The post 2021 Conforming Loan Limit Rises to 8,250 first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.

Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

United Wholesale Mortgage Now Offering FHA Loans with Rates Below 2%

The leading wholesale mortgage lender in the nation has brought the heat once again, this time offering 30-year fixed mortgage rates below 2% on FHA loans. United Wholesale Mortgage announced that borrowers can now lock in interest rates as low as 1.99% on FHA-backed loans via its popular Conquest program. The new Conquest for FHA [&hellip

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Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com

National Association of Realtors Says Home Prices Are Rising Too Fast

It’s good to be a homeowner these days. After all, home prices are rising at an incredible pace, and have been for nearly a decade now since bottoming out. On top of that, many of today’s homeowners hold fixed-rate mortgages with ultra-low mortgage rates, making it very affordable to own rather than rent. Unfortunately, the [&hellip

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Source: thetruthaboutmortgage.com